“Face it, Jared, being too early is the same as being wrong.”

Cast of Silicon Valley, HBO

Maybe just maybe I watched the season finale of Silicon Valley without my husband last night (shhh, please). It was a fantastic season finale. Among the long list of zings, barbs and quotables was this one:

Face it, Jared, being too early is the same as being wrong (Richard, S03 309).

This is from the Julia playbook/bible. Frankly, the base premise of any entrepreneur — timing is everything.

Like the time I wanted to sell water out of a Coleman cooler in little Dixie Cups in 1974 and my mother said it was wrong to try and sell something that could be had for free. Yes, I was too early.

Like the time I launched a line of personal care products that I currated to offer the best of what one would need for labor & delivery and life as a new mother. Again, too early — and frankly Birch Box does it better than I did.

Like the time I was busy writing advertorials before they were respected enough to be called branded or native content. Thank you Washington Post, InStyle and others for trying along with me, but early is as early does.

But with those being too early failures come learnings that while not lucrative in the cash in the bank sense are remarkable in what they provide as a base for the next venture.

Among these lessons— there are simply factors that cannot be controlled. And these factors, while uncontrollable, still cannot be overlooked or ignored.

Enter the It’s Working Project

So lucky for me, timing is spot on for helping the private sector bring families back to work with ease, as a matter of course and with a sense of pride. And this time the timing, traction and commitment around this concept is bigger and frankly more authentic than anything I’ve experienced to date.

So much so — that being too early is the goal — early to advance the ball, raise the bar and you pick your metaphor — and improving the culture and ecosystem for working parents, being “the one” to identify what benefits and life-fits have value and meaning — that wins.

So how will you and your organization win? Start by listening. New data from Mercer shows how dismal the picture really is. It will take 118 years for us to correct the pay gap for example. And worse, we are loosing women at critical moments in their careers meaning simply — organizations end up loosing on their investments in highly qualified, skilled women as fast as they make them. So what now? Now is about listening and building a culture in which your women stay — making sense of what that looks like and creating and supporting a new normal. It is not an easy exercise. It requires paying attention, not dismissing what you don’t want to hear and leading — with the goal of being early to the game.

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Not for the Weak — a Week for Women in DC #UnitedStateofWomen #StarttheConvo

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez with Melanie Fonder Kaye and Baby Cooper!
Secretary of Labor Tom Perez with Melanie Fonder Kaye and Baby Cooper!

It was a whirlwind of a day at DOL. The room was filled with individuals briming over with remarkable energy and the highest, most authentic level of engagement led by Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez. The men and women in the room were a who’s who and what’s what of inspired leaders, ideas and commitment to to progress starting with a focus on worker voice (if you were really listening, you might have heard Anat Shenker-Osorio share why that word choice in itself was holding progress back). As Anita Dunn shared “As we hold the mirror up to ourselves, we begging to do better- that is the power of the personal narrative” and reminded us too that “Paid leave and equal pay were not women’s issues or family issues they’re American issues”.

Days later, my head is still spinning. Ideas, opportunities and angles — how we will make progress and make the most of thee days…My tweets from June 15 do the best job of  summarizing not only what was shared, but bigger still — the context and the amazing passion of the day. Note the reference to Hamilton (extra points and props to Secretary Perez) as well as the “hello-baby” moment with Cooper Kaye.

Why we came — to #startheconvo
Understanding the power of the narrative and the value of listening.
An irresistable call to action
How the day ended — strong and mighty!

The day ended with the ever-candid and driven Senior Advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett urging us on, reminding us of our power and responsibility and moreover, vowing to help us cross the finish line.

Valerie Jarrett — ending the day with purpose

Want a place to start — share your story of back to work after baby in the US story via the It’s Working Project/Shareyourstory.   Onward…

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What He Said — POTUS on How We Get There From Here #unitedstateofwomen

This week Washington, DC hosts the United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC. Today President Obama, in a rousing and vibrant speech to a packed house of optimistic game-changers, leaders and determined visionaries, encouraged us to support companies who are truly creating workplace policies to work for everyone. “It would help if more women were in congress and in the C- suite (“I have a corner office, the Oval office”, he grinned!)” POTUS shared, “we also have to change the way we see ourselves”.

“Right now we continue to be boxed in by stereotyping. It has consequences for all of us. We need to keep changing the attitude that got us here. It is why we are encouraging and highlighting women trailblazers — because it is hard to be what you cannot see”.

With his words and his remarkable and contagious passion POTUS urged that we be more intentional about how we get there — supporting companies who do the right thing.

And how do we do this — in real-time, how do we support the shift? As we see culture changing — not only on paper but also in practice, how so we cast our vote, and show our appreciation for those getting it right — or at least better?

Looks like this week team Target played their role exactly the way that POTUS urges. This video of a sea of Target employees protected a breastfeeding mother being harassed in store is a remarkable example of an integrated cultural mandate — one that exists both on paper and in real-time — in this case — in the café of a Torrington, Connecticut Target store. At time of publishing, this video shot by the nursing mother has over 3 million views.

According to an article from the Huffington Post in 2015, Target’s employee handbook states that “guests may openly breastfeed in our stores,” and further adds that “Target’s policy supports breastfeeding in any area of our stores, including our fitting rooms, even if others are waiting.”

This week a breastfeeding mother, harassed by a Target customer while with her baby in the cafe, was quickly and confidently protected by store employees. A ring of red Target shirts surrounded her and helped her to feel safe and protected when she was shaking from the experience. No drama, simply an appropriate, even reaction to inappropriate hatred and vitriol which has no place in Target as communicated through the whole of the organization.

We need to applaud and support Target for not only creating this policy but also for being an organization that actively supports these cultural guidelines — making the protection of a mother in the café a seamless and obvious response to the luncay of the man harassing the guest. And we need to show that not only with shares but also with shops — meaninging shop at Target to underscore how right they are.

#UntiedStateof Women was about how we will get where we envision — and this story of a Target café in Connecticut hits the bulls eye.

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UNITED STATE OF WOMEN The White House Summit

We’ve been to a few rodeos!

I know, I know — we are all gathering in DC next week to talk the important talk, move the needle and make it happen. And we will!

It is the United State of Women Summit after all and we are creating change. Yes we are. But if this lovely social media access has done anything, it has brought us all closer. And what my nearest and dearest asking about the time in DC — you know they are: food, libation and getting around. So thanks to Medium, here you have it too — Julia Beck’s inside line on a week of being all about DC.

  1. Find me— let’s hug, coo and remind each other what important work we are doing. If you have not shared your story on the It’s Working Project — please do. We will spend the week featuring those we see along the way — so make sure your story is up and live.

2. Find a rooftop — we love a good rooftop here is DC. POV is my favorite view but perhaps my least favorite staff — if a good challenge is your thing then go for it. And really the striking panorama is worth the ‘tude (maybe). I am a fan of Marvin (food, vibe and not too precious) as well an old school moment at Perry’s. If the Watergate should open ASAP I would make the dash — history plus scenery is never a bad thing.

3. Use UberX — black cars are too silly expensive and our metro is under some sort of super-overdue fix-up…just X it.

4. Dine Al Fresco — barring crazy afternoon storms — days in conference halls and government buildings call for late days outdoors enjoying the elements. Add in good bites and libations and you will be just fine. My vote is alwaysIron Gate. If you are feeling like carbs and money are no object, Fiola is another perfect bet. The sidewalk at Mintwood makes me happy, always AndBlue Duck is a corner, with a fountain and with a much loved menu. Ella’sPizza, Doi Moi and Lincoln all offer tables that promise to get you back to feeling the love.

5. Quick Fix — Blue Mercury is all over town — stop in and get yourself back in order — that is why they are there.

6. Traffic — plan on it — simply put.

7. Thank you for being here — for your commitment, spirit and passion. We can’t wait to part of this moment together.

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The Young Mother and the Bathroom

It is all in the lens

I had a great lunch date — the same one I had for breakfast actually. This particular date seems to take for granted that I will be keeping my eyes on the action around me. And we are both OK with that.

Today, at lunch, I saw a young mother, confident and quite lovely. The mother was pushing a baby girl in her stroller though one of the new restaurants in Bethesda, Maryland.

This mother was was confident (which I always love to see) and making her way to a table for four in the corner. Next, I see her get up, move her entire set-up to the ladies room with the manager leading the way.


I ask the manager to stay a second after he delivers my crudité and dips.

“I am wondering — I saw you show that mother to the ladies room… Did she ask to use the ladies room to feed her baby?”

He smiles, “No m’am she did not”. We don’t have our changing table installed yet. I offered to create a make-shift one out of a beverage cart and napkins”. “And, I would never suggest a woman feed a baby in a bathroom”


(He is proud)

(I am thrilled)

And that is what progress looks like on this Monday…

Nothing radical

Nothing ground-breaking

Or expensive or newsworthy –

Well not unless you count our culture shifting right under our feet on this Monday in May particularly newsworthy.

At the It’s Working Project we most certainly do!

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